Chimera (2021) poster
8.1
Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 2,447 users
# of Watchers: 8,492
Reviews: 18 users
Ranked #1741
Popularity #1812
Watchers 2,447

In 1984, a potential serial killer struck again as a ghastly explosion shook the city. Now it’s 2019, and copies of those crimes come to light. Follow the team of Detective Jae Hwan, Profiler Yoo Jin, and Surgeon Dr. Joong Yeob assigned to solve both the cold and current cases. Their prime suspect goes by ‘Chimera’, after the beast in Greek mythology. It had the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a fire-breathing serpent. To capture the criminal, they must first uncover the secrets that link the two cases some thirty-five years apart. Could the clue lie in the tale of the mythical monster? (Source: CJENM.com; Soompi; edited by Lee C) Edit Translation

  • English
  • 한국어
  • Русский
  • Polski
  • Country: South Korea
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 16
  • Aired: Oct 30, 2021 - Dec 19, 2021
  • Aired On: Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: OCN
  • Duration: 1 hr. 5 min.
  • Score: 8.1 (scored by 2,447 users)
  • Ranked: #1741
  • Popularity: #1812
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

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Cast & Credits

Reviews

Completed
starflakes
16 people found this review helpful
Mar 9, 2022
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 7.5
Story 6.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 2.0

A disappointing waste of a spectacular premise

I don't write a lot of reviews, especially for shows that finished airing more than a couple months or so ago, but I felt compelled to write a review for Chimera because of how disappointing I found the show to be.

This show starts off, in my opinion, really strong. The first couple episodes are gripping, and exactly what I (and what I imagine a lot of people) look for in a show whose two main genres are Thriller and Mystery. Unfortunately, the show gets wrapped up in trying to jerk the audience around and loses all of that great momentum. To me, the best thriller and mystery shows are the ones that, as viewers, surprise you first but later realize you should've seen coming. I.e there are opportunities to piece together the mystery along the way. Chimera lacks that in a lot of its aspects. While there are some plot points that are very predictable, there are others that are entirely unfounded, and to which we don't get the evidence until after the fact. To me, that was the most unforgivable let down of the show. Culprits emerge from seemingly nowhere, and plot twists that feel to be for nothing more than shock value are aplenty. Which of course, made the show frustrating to watch at times.

I doubt I'll ever rewatch this show, but if I do it will only be for the main character trio (Eugene, Cha Jae Hwan, and Lee Joong Yeop) whose dynamic with each other proved to be one of the only things I consistently liked about this show.

Don't get me wrong, I still (partially) enjoyed watching this show, especially in the first half. The acting is fantastic, the characters are fairly interesting (Lee Hee Joon's character is particularly compelling), and I love the scientific approach Chimera took to explaining the murders. It was a refreshing difference that set this show apart from many other murder mysteries. Unfortunately, the second half of this show killed practically all the enthusiasm I had for it, which is a shame because I really believe this show could have been spectacular. I left this show feeling unsatisfied, and I really wish it had gone a different direction, or at least kept the tone and pacing of the first couple episodes.

Perhaps my expectations for Chimera were too high, or perhaps I'm too picky when it comes to what I think makes a good thriller or mystery, but this show could've been so much better.

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Completed
SKITC
19 people found this review helpful
Dec 19, 2021
16 of 16 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 5.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 5.5
Music 3.0
Rewatch Value 5.0

Terrific plot paired with an almost total absence of charismatic characters

Robots are perfectly fine. They do lots of cool things. They can vacuum. They help build cars and other stuff. Some robots are even helping with medical procedures. This is all good stuff. There’s lots of robots on screen too from the droids in the “Star Wars” universe (mostly entertaining) to the invaders from outer space in Michael Bay’s “Transformers” franchise (less positive things to say about them) and the robots that look human like “The Terminator” or Data from “Star Trek: The Next Generation). [reviewer’s note: apologies for the list of references to Western fare]

Robots can be a contributing element for an entertainment production. When they are, it’s because they are usually imbued with human-like personalities. Sadly, the reverse works less effectively. Human characters meant to be more robotic in their personality rarely seem to engage viewers. This may seem like an odd introduction to a drama set in modern day South Korea with no sci-fi or fantasy or supernatural element but rather named after and with running references to Greek mythology. Before this all connects, a digression:

“Chimera” is a drama focused on a serial killer that uses incendiary traps to kill. A spree thirty-five years prior to the current timeline ended when a suspect was apprehended and committed suicide in police custody. A new string of deaths is now following the same patterns. That’s the show.

To its credit, this setup is surprisingly good. There is more than a bit of chemistry and science and it is presented in a way that the average onlooker can make sense of. It’s a different approach to creating a serial killer character. It also helps to physically separate the killer from the crimes so the entire scene can be captured without revealing the identity of the chimera killer too early. As characters become suspicious and then are discovered to be not bad guys or at least not The Bad Guy, the narrative nicely keeps springing action scenes and surprises at a regular clip. Had an equally accomplished cast of characters been participating in such a narrative, it would have been a terrific show.

There is one. Kim Su Hyun’s Eugene Hathaway, an FBI profiler that’s been shipped overseas, would have been the ideal character to lead “Chimera” and build the show around. She’s intellectual but also empathic. She excels in a high pressure environment. And Kim Su Hyun shows why she’s appeared in two of the biggest cinematic franchises on the planet (the MCU and Harry Potter).

But the show is instead built around Park Hae Soo’s Jae Hwan, a detective that is a maddeningly inconsistent character. At times, he is utterly befuddled at the worst possible time and finds the absolute worst thing to do. Other times, he is Mr. Cop Cliche: bristling with superiors when told what to do, playing the bad cop type in an interrogation and convinced that his half-baked hunch is all he needs to take down his target. Park Hae Soo does what he can, but with all the focus on him, it’s an impossible character to salvage.

The rest of the crew is where the robots come in:

The doctor - calculating
The special investigative team leader - grim
The lawyer - quiet
The police vet - subdued
The mother - withdrawn
The CEO - restrained
The CEO’s wife - buttoned up
The CEO’s wife’s brother - resolute
The closed circuit tv police officer - shy
The other police officers - so much the typical police character that they could be faceless

That’s the theme. One robotic character after another appears on screen and when they show up, they tend to be there for extended appearances. Granted, not every fictional character needs to be some wild carnival barking exuberant rainbow of personality, but the calculus should not be to take three monotones, put them on couches and let them mumble to each other for a good chunk of an episode. The collective ends up being a group that’s difficult to connect with so when cast members start getting picked off, it’s a shrug and an “oh well” and let’s move on.

It helps less that Woo Hyun appears with regularity in “Chimera”. Somehow this gentleman who, in person, might be the kindest and most charitable man in the hemisphere regularly gets work despite the fact that he is one of the top five most graceless actors in the industry and the only one of the five that didn’t get the work because his day job is as a successful idol.

Layer in some lame explosion special effects, conventional camera work, no interesting OST to speak of and a regular pattern of alternating stronger episodes with slower episodes and the production as a whole simply never gains more than a modicum of traction.

In a better vehicle, Park Hae Soo and Kim Su Hyun could be a phenomenal pair of actors. “Chimera” is not that show. Not recommended.

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Details

  • Drama: Chimera
  • Country: South Korea
  • Episodes: 16
  • Aired: Oct 30, 2021 - Dec 19, 2021
  • Aired On: Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: OCN
  • Duration: 1 hr. 5 min.
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

Statistics

  • Score: 8.1 (scored by 2,447 users)
  • Ranked: #1741
  • Popularity: #1812
  • Watchers: 8,492

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